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State Bank promoting banking for all

State bank of Pakistan.—File Photo

KARACHI, Oct 9: Deputy Governor, State Bank, Kazi Abdul Muktadir, on Tuesday expressed his resolve to provide banking services to all segments of society.

Speaking to journalists during his visit to Karachi Press Club, he said that with the concerted efforts of all, we would be able to achieve the desired goals of ‘Banking for All’.

Emphasising the need for an efficient and thriving banking system, he said that the State Bank is providing regulatory environment to financial institutions to enhance financial inclusion in the country.

“Providing people with access to finance is a challenging task, not just for the central bank but also for all the stakeholders,” he observed.

State Bank of Pakistan is trying to make the banking services available at the door-step of the people, he said and added that promoting access to banking services is the corner-stone of SBP’s policy framework.

He said the State Bank under its Branch Licencing Policy has made it compulsory for banks to open at least 20 per cent of their new branches in rural and under-served areas.

He said that Branchless Banking is helping in reaching out to the low income, un-banked people through more than 30,000 access points throughout the country.

Nearly 30 million transactions worth Rs115 billion have been processed during the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year through branchless banking and the average daily transactions have been reported at 315,178 while the total number of branchless banking accounts has increased to 1.7 million.

According to the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Pakistan is the fastest growing branchless banking market in the world, he added.

He said that transformation from traditional to modern ways of banking is taking place at a fast pace.

A number of alternate delivery channels for provision of banking services, like ATMs, Credit Cards, POS terminals, Internet Banking, Debit Cards already exist in our country to benefit the masses.

“Currently, 93 per cent of the total bank branches are offering Real-Time Online services,” he added.

Abdul Muktadir said the SBP would ensure that the high level of banking service standards is maintained for safety, security and cost-effectiveness with adequate levels of protection for consumers’ interests.

The SBP Deputy Governor, who also inaugurated an ATM at Karachi Press Club, pointed out that availability of ATMs in Pakistan is quite low as there are only 5,600 ATMs in the country.

At present, there is about one ATM against two bank branches while in developed countries, there are three ATMs against one bank branch.